Black Presbyterians Back PCUSA Church Growth Initiative

(Photo Credit: Presbyterian Church (USA))Worshipers at New Faith Presbyterian Church in Greenwood, South Carolina. The image is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s website promoting the denomination's 1001 New Worshipping Communities Initiative.

The board of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus says it will propose several projects to its regions and chapters that support the creation of new congregations in the Presbyterian Church (USA) over the next 10 years.

The NBPC said in a statement on Monday that during an August 2-4 meeting in Atlanta, it was supporting the "1,001 new worshipping communities" initiative.

The NBPC said it will "[w]ork with the Office of African American Congregational Support to strengthen congregations spiritually and to provide pastoral leadership and opportunities for new church developments in African American communities."

As of 2011, there were 31,830 African Americans in the PC(USA) denomination, or 1.96 percent of the total, according to the Office of the General Assembly.

Members of the board also pledged to take action on developing a middle school years emphasis for black boys and girls, ages 8-13, celebrate young people who have overcome adversity, address the issue of the "prison pipeline,' and support the HIV/AIDS Project at Johnson C. Smith Seminary.

Other areas of action include continuing mission projects through the African Connection, focusing on training of youth advocates and leaders, and implementing the Freedom School program.

PCUSA defines a new worshipping communities as one taking on varied forms in the changing culture, seeking to form new disciples of Jesus Christ, being gathered by the Spirit to meet Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament, being sent by the Spirit to join god's mission for the transformation of the world, practicing mutual, and developing sustainability in leadership and finances.

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